Longtime Ticketmaster executive Neal Gunn passed away today after a brief illness near his home in Houston. The former Ticketmaster SVP of Venue Relations and one-time Astrodome executive VP was 74 when he passed away.
“Neal brought me from Denver to Dallas in 1996 to oversee the Texas market for Ticketmaster,” recalls longtime friend Don Orris. “It was through him that I met Mike McGee, Louis Messina, Bob Roux, the Beckers and many other industry giants. I never heard anyone say one bad word about Neal. Never. He was everyone’s friend.”
The LSU graduate got his start at the Monroe Civic Center, part of a group of upcoming venue executives who worked at the Louisiana venue and affectionally referred to themselves as the “Monroe Mafia” with consiglieres that included Mike McGee and Sydney Greenblatt. Dunn worked at a number of venues including the Lakeland Civic Center in Florida, from 1971-1975, and the Super Dome in New Orleans, where he was hired by Charles Roemer, Chief of Administration to Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards to assist in solving issues at the building.
He went on to work for the Houston Sports Association and Astrodome beginning in 1983, marketing and operating the famed dome, home stadium for the Houston Astros. It was during his time with the HSA that he co-founded Leisure Management Corporation, a private venue management firm that operated sports and entertainment venues and was eventually sold to SMG.
In 1995, he began a 15-year run at Ticketmaster serving as the company’s Senior Vice President of Venue Relations, helping the ticketing giant secure business while working on marquee events like the Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Game, Final Four and many other events. In 2010, shortly after the company was merged with Live Nation, Gunn left Ticketmaster and founded his consulting firm Neal Gunn Enterprises.